A quote by Potomac (Md.) Coach Eric Knight hung just outside the Gwynn Park locker room yesterday, declaring how the Yellow Jackets had "dodged a bullet" by not having the Wolverines on their schedule the past two seasons. Motivation? If so, the ploy by Yellow Jackets Coach Danny Hayes worked to perfection as No. 5 Gwynn Park rolled to a 20-7 win over Potomac in a Prince George's 3A/2A game in Brandywine.
The Yellow Jackets (6-0, 4-0) won with a stifling and opportunistic defense, forcing four turnovers against the defending Maryland 2A champions. For the Wolverines (4-2, 3-2), coming off a 6-0 loss last week to Friendly, the loss marked the first time they have dropped two in a row since at least 1999.
The Yellow Jackets were sparked by two interceptions by senior cornerback Troy Butler and fumble recoveries by sophomore lineman Jerimiah Martin and senior linebacker William Johnson.
"The defense stepped up for us," said Gwynn Park senior quarterback Andrew Banks, who completed 6 of 14 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. "When we made mistakes on offense, they bailed us out."
Gwynn Park took an early lead thanks to its special teams. A blocked punt gave the Yellow Jackets possession on the Wolverines 44-yard line, leading to an 11-yard touchdown strike from Banks to William Little with 8 minutes 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets doubled that lead late in the first half when, running the option, Banks kept the ball, got a key block from running back Rashad Carmichael, and scampered for a 53-yard score.
Gwynn Park's defense made that halftime margin look enormous. Potomac had just 21 yards of total offense in the first half, including only two first downs on seven possessions.
"We saw what they were trying to do in throwing the ball early, and we tried to get as much pressure on the ball as possible," said senior linebacker Phillip Higgins. "Once we did that, they couldn't do anything else."